Bruce Kapferer was born in 1940, Sydney Australia and studied at the University of Sydney and later for the PhD at the University of Manchester. His early fieldwork was in Zambia where he researched among the Bisa of Lake Bangweulu and among mine and commercial workers in the town of Kabwe. Working under Clyde Mitchell he was an early pioneer of social network analysis but later, following extensive fieldwork in Sri Lanka, he shifted his focus to ritual demonstrating the importance of the phenomenology of aesthetics to the analysis of ritual performance. He has since extended this interest to the interpretation of nationalism and its violence. Kapferer founded two anthropology departments in Australia (at Adelaide University and at James Cook University). He was the main inspiration behind the foundation of the Cairns Institute. Kapferer has also held professorial posts in anthropology at University College London (where he is now an Honorary Professorial Fellow) and at the University of Bergen, where he is currently Emeritus. In 1976 Kapferer, in collaboration with Kingsley Garbett and Michael Roberts, founded the journal Social Analysis. He was one of the Editors of Anthropological Theory (until 2014) and remains on the Board.
Some of his main books include: A Celebration of Demons, The Feast of The Sorcerer, Legends of people, Myths of State, 2001 and Counting.